Ep. 23: On Beauty; Turner Prize Nominee Naeem Mohaiemen; Mind: Design in the City
What is beautiful? The Cambridge dictionary defines it as: "the quality of being pleasing, especially to look at, or someone or something that gives great pleasure, especially when you look at it" and the philosopher and teacher, Confucius said "Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it." With the holiday season pushing us into consumerism overdrive, we explore what it means to look and feel beautiful today. Will beauty always command power in society? Are traditional ideas around beauty still prevalent or are times truly changing?
The Pearl is a sign of timeless beauty. Recently, a natural pearl and diamond pendant, once belonging to the French Queen, ‘let-them-eat-cake’ Marie Antoinette, was sold at auction for over $36 million in Switzerland and setting a new record for a natural pearl sold by auction house Sotheby’s. Stance delves into the world of Pearls with family experts and jewelers Chrissie Douglas from Coleman Douglas and Pearls. We discuss what makes this formidable and rare gem so beautiful.
How is the fashion industry, which is constantly under fire for pushing unattainable beauty idea, responding to the calls for greater representation and diversity within the industry? Stance speaks to Nafisa Kaptownwala, founder of Lorde Inc, the world’s first non-white modelling agency using street casting to challenge the old-school ideals of beauty.
We also caught up with Andrea Evans. An agent who’s worked at top model agencies including Ford, Elite and is currently at B&M Models to hear about the capital value beauty still upholds in society.
Stance asks about the intersectional nature of beauty? Does beauty privilege still operate when you have a disability? We speak to Cerrie Burnell, author, actor and former children's television presenter to get her take.
Do the traditional beauty ideals of society spill over into what’s considered attractive on the Drag stage? Stance asks Drag artist, Honey Mahogany, a former contestant on Rupaul’s Drag Race.
Ending this feature on beauty, we speak to Heather Widdows, a Professor of Global Ethics in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Birmingham about her new book Perfect Me: Beauty as an Ethical Ideal. Hailed as the follow-up to Naomi Wolff’s groundbreaking book, The Beauty Myth, Heather argues that that the pressures on women to appear thinner, younger and firmer are stronger than ever. We find out more.
This month, Stance is in conversation with visual artist and filmmaker Naeem Mohaiemen who has been nominated for this year’s prestigious Turner Prize. He discusses the South Asian movements that shaped him as an artist, the recurring theme of memory in his work, and his Turner Prize-nominated films, currently being exhibited at Tate Britain.
For our current affairs piece, Stance partners with UP Projects to investigate the relationship between wellbeing, urban spaces and neuroscience. We speak to Neuroscientist and co-creator of app UrbanMind Andrea Mechelli, Public Health expert Rachel Toms and Architect and founder of Conscious Cities Itai Palti. With the help of new scientific developments harnessed from our minds, we explore how the design of our cities impacts on our mental health.
Stance Cultural Shout-outs:
Emergent Strategy - Shaping Change, Changing Worlds - Adrienne Maree Brown
The Three Body Problem - Cixin Liu
Offence - Little Simz
Fukk Sleep - ASAP Rocky ft FKA Twigs
TV & Film
Shirkers - Film by Sandi TanN
McQueen - Film by Ian Bonhote & Peter Ettedgui
Protection Exhibition - Riposte art sale with Amnesty
The Start Podcast - The Guardian
British Vogue Podcast - Appearances, hosted by Academy Award-winner and contributing editor Steve McQueen.
Cover Photo: Courtesy of Fashion Agency - Lorde Inc